Subject: Student travel
Hello Fellow Consumers:

In a recent thread I noticed some comments about student travel. I have some cautions and tips. Several years ago I was appointed receiver for a startup student travel company. As it turns out student travel is an extremely lucrative business. In those days the cost was about $2,000 USD per student for which the students received about $1,000 in services. I do not know what the price is today, but you can bet it is a 100% markup over the actual costs. Teachers were the targets of the company's marketing efforts, but they are the targets of several student travel companies. The incentive for the teacher is free travel and the teacher unwittingly promotes the trip. To underscore that point, I sold the teacher client list for nearly $100,000 USD. The company bought it from another failed student travel company for nearly $1,000,000 USD. In my case, the company used the profits from its initial trips to outfit its offices and pay extravagances such as salaries and artwork. (The millwork fellow was left holding the bag for about $35,000 on a $300,00 project in which you could not see one single nail hole in the woodwork and the oaken spiral staircase between the second and third floors). Then the company used the next trip's fees to pay for the current trip. It was a little bit of a Ponzi scheme. If you are going to use a student travel organization, then get trip cancellation insurance from an unrelated company. Yes, in my case the trip cancellation insurance company was related to the failed company and its insurance was worthless. Some of the defrauded consumers submitted claims to their home owners insurance companies. Most declined to honor the claims. State Farm honored the claim in each case. That is not an endorsement of State Farm, but merely a fact of my receivership. If your child wants to go on one of these trips, then you have to do the research, ask questions and be careful.